隆重登場 Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds is a special effects extravaganza with a soul. By KEVIN MA 《與神同行》除了令眼繚人 花 亂的特技之外,還深入探索人性。撰文:馬樂民

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Big special effects. Monsters. A star-studded cast. South Korean film Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds has all the hallmarks of an action-adventure blockbuster – but it’s not what you’d expect. For one, the hero doesn’t fight the monsters. Instead, he is led wide-eyed through a fantastical world based on Asian philosophies such as karma and reincarnation, where he faces a reckoning.

The first of the two-part Along With the Gods, The Two Worlds is about heroic firefighter Ja-hong (Cha Tae-hyun), who is celebrated as a ‘paragon’ in the afterlife. Accompanied by three guardians (Ha Jung-woo, Ju Ji-hoon and Kim Hyanggi), Ja-hong must prove that he led an honourable life over the course of seven trials to secure the privilege of reincarnation. More importantly, he’ll get a chance to say goodbye to his mother in the world of the living through her dreams.

Director Kim Yong-hwa’s vision of the afterlife has its share of fearsome creatures, but Ja-hong’s greatest enemy turns out to be his own deeds. As truths about his life, such as the reason he left his family, slowly come to the surface, the guardians realise that Ja-hong isn’t as righteous as they thought.

With a budget of 40 billion won (HK$291 million), Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds – based on an internet comic – is one of the most expensive films ever made in South Korea. And it shows: the elaborate world of the afterlife rivals the biggest Hollywood productions, showcasing why Kim’s own Dexter Studios is one of the most popular special effects firms in Asia. The film is also testament to how far the South Korean film industry has come.

But the abundant computer-generated effects never overshadow the story’s emotional core. The relationship between Ja-hong and his family while he was alive seems needlessly complicated at first, but the emotional investment pays off in a big way by the end. Its fine balance of spectacle and heart is an achievement that we’ve rarely seen in other special effectsdriven Asian films. If Kim can end the saga on a high note with the movie’s second part – set for theatrical release in August – Along With the Gods will set a new standard for Asian cinema.

令人歎為觀止的特技、怪大獸、明星,電南韓 影《與神同行》具備了一切賣座動作片的全部特色,卻並非那種你司空見慣的賣座動作片。例如片中進行歷險旅程的主角並沒有對抗怪獸的打鬥場面;,反之 日在陰間使者的帶領下,進行一趟令人眼界大開的地府之旅,了解何謂業力與輪迴,藉此重新審視自己的人生。

《與神同行》分為兩集,在第一集中,因為英救勇 人而殉職的消防員金自鴻(車太鉉飾)死後被奉為「貴人」(即大好人)。日必須在三位陰間使者(河正、智、宇 朱 勛金香起分飾的) 陪同下,通過七大地獄的試煉,證明自己一生品德高尚,方可再次轉世投生;而最重要的是,讓日有機會在轉世前向尚在人間的母親報夢道別。

導演金容華詮釋的,陰間 固然不乏駭人的怪物,不過金自鴻最大的敵人卻是自己的 所作所為。隨著他一生的經歷(例如離開家庭的原因)逐漸浮現,一眾陰間使者,發現 金自鴻可能並非他們心中所想的正直好人。

本片故事改編自網上連載漫畫,耗資 400億韓圜( 2.91 億港元) ,是南韓歷來製作費最高昂的電影之一。影片呈現出一個精心建構的陰間世界特,技效果水準之高足, 可媲美荷李活最具規模的,製作 說明為何金容華成立的 Dexter Studios 是亞洲其中一家極受歡迎的視覺特效公司。同時,本片亦證明南韓電影工業在過去 20年來進步神速。雖然《與神同行》充滿電腦合成的特技,卻並未削弱故事的感人力量。金自鴻生前與家人複雜的關係起初看似冗贅,不過到結局時卻發揮重要的作用。本片在特技奇觀和細膩感情之間取得巧妙的平衡,與其他以視覺特技的電先行 亞洲 影不可同日而語,非常難得。神《與 同行》的續集將於8月在戲院上映,如果金容華能再次為觀眾帶來另一趟高潮迭起的地府之旅,將會為亞洲電影訂下全新標準。


I need a hero Cha Tae- hyun (left and above) is a fallen firefighter led through the afterlife by three guardians (top)

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